NFL Power Rankings: Teams on Cusp of Rising or Falling in Week 5
With a win or loss, there are some teams in the NFL who stand to make a serious jump up or fall down in the power rankings after Week 5.
The San Francisco 49ers are a team that started off the season slow, but an impressive win over the St. Louis Rams may be a turning point for one of the NFC favorites.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts are storming out of the gates and playing great football. A tough Week 5 opponent in the Seattle Seahawks could result in a huge statement game for the Colts should it result in a win and a fall in the rankings should they lose.
These are just two of the teams with a chance to make a major move in the rankings in each direction. Let's break down each team that falls into this category.
*Note: Biggest risers and fallers are in italics.
1. Denver Broncos (4-0)
The Denver Broncos will jump up a spot after another convincing win in Week 4 with a 52-20 blowout victory over the Eagles. Denver continues to smoke teams with its elite offense, and quarterback Peyton Manning is playing some legendary football that may end up being unmatched in the history of the league. To make matters worse for opposing teams moving forward, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker Von Miller have yet to play this season but soon will.
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0)
While the Seattle Seahawks may have picked up a huge road win against the Houston Texans last week, they needed a 17-point comeback to even things up and eventually overtime to finish the job. Seattle has played some great football this season, but that win showed some vulnerabilities and pushed them back a spot.
3. New England Patriots (4-0)
Despite the fact that they beat the Atlanta Falcons by just one score, the New England Patriots looked unstoppable offensively at some points during their Week 4 matchup. Quarterback Tom Brady and his receiving corps look to be improving week by week, and once Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski return to the field, the Pats offense will be scary when combined with what has been a great defense thus far.
4. New Orleans Saints (4-0)
The New Orleans Saints made a statement on Monday Night Football with a 21-point beatdown of the formerly undefeated Miami Dolphins. While their offense has been its normal, explosive self this season, the Saints have boasted some stellar defense that has many fans and experts alike shocked at just how good it has been.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
You must have love for the Kansas City Chiefs after the first four weeks of the season. Not only do they take care of the ball with Alex Smith under center, but the Chiefs have also played great defense, allowing 10.3 points per game, which is No. 1 in the league. A win over the lowly New York Giants in Week 4 won't score them many respect points, but Kansas City's consistency and convincing wins keep them ranked as one of the league's elite.
6. Indianapolis Colts (3-1)
After an expected rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts continue what has been an impressive season thus far. They land one spot ahead of the San Francisco 49ers after topping them in Week 3.
The Colts now have an established rushing attack with the No. 4-ranked ground game in the NFL, and thanks to the acquisition of running back Trent Richardson, that should continue.
Believe it or not, it's the Colts' passing attack that hasn't lived up to expectations. Quarterback Andrew Luck should keep improving as the season moves along and could make the Colts a powerhouse as they sport a defense that ranks No. 7 and No. 16 against the pass and run, respectively.
Things won't get any easier in Week 5 as the Colts welcome the Seahawks to town. With an elite defense that can stop both the pass and run, it remains to be seen if the Colts have enough to muster up points in order to win that game. Depending on how bad it is, a loss at the hands of the Seahawks could knock the Colts down a peg after Week 5.
7. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
The San Francisco 49ers finally rebounded in Week 4 after a big divisional win over the St. Louis Rams. In what was thought to be a tough matchup going into it, the Niners owned the Rams on both sides of the ball and won by a wide margin, 35-11.
Thankfully for the Niners, the running game seems to be bouncing back as Frank Gore ran for 153 yards and one score. Concerns about Colin Kaepernick still exist, but at least he'll have the benefit of a ground attack to give him some support as he looks to find his way.
It was just a matter of time before the Niners came back strong after two straight losses. They are loaded with talent, and despite injuries, San Fran should be better than 2-2.
After what should be a competitive but favorable Week 5 matchup with the Texans at home, the Niners will have four winnable games against the Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers to help propel them back to the top of the pack in the NFL. Don't be surprised if the Niners end up reeling off five in a row at the end of this stretch.
8. Detroit Lions (3-1)
You have to give the Detroit Lions credit after an impressive win over a divisional opponent and undefeated team in the Chicago Bears. An astounding 27 points in the second quarter proved to be the difference for the Lions, and if not for 16 fourth-quarter points by the Bears, it wouldn't have been close. A Week 5 matchup with the 1-2 Green Bay Packers won't do much to help or hurt the Lions' ranking unless they get blown out.
9. Houston Texans (2-2)
An overtime loss to the Seahawks helps the Texans keep a shred of credibility as a good team in this league, but they are hanging by a thread in that regard.
The Texans carried a 20-3 lead into halftime versus the Seahawks only to see it evaporate en route to a tough loss at home. Houston did expose some issues for Seattle, but quarterback Matt Schaub and Co. were unable to seal the deal.
In Week 5, the Texans could fall even further if they fail to beat another top team in the Niners. To stack the deck even further against Houston, San Fran will be the host with a ton of momentum as the Texans look to recover from a deflating loss.
Another loss will not only drop the Texans to below .500, but it will also drop them out of the top 10 for the foreseeable future.
10. Chicago Bears (3-1)
The Bears' performance against the Lions in Week 4 was disappointing to say the least. What once looked like a potential elite team in the NFL on both sides of the ball has now been reduced to a huge question mark.
Chicago's defense failed to do much to stop Detroit's offense early on, and quarterback Jay Cutler led the team to a four-turnover game with three picks and one fumble lost. That lack of ball security is certainly a big concern for the Bears, and 40 points allowed to the Lions shows some serious deficiencies on defense, particularly against the run.
A Week 5 matchup with the unbeaten Saints is the last thing the Bears needed as Drew Brees and Co. come into this game scorching hot. The only silver lining is that the Bears will be at home, but depending on the result, Chicago could be making a big move up or down the rankings after the week.
11. Miami Dolphins (3-1)
Monday Night Football proved to be a disaster for the Dolphins after getting owned by the Saints, 38-17. Clearly this team has some work to do after such a loss. However, one bad week shouldn't totally erase the good things the Dolphins have done to start the season. Miami has a great chance to maintain its position here with a win over a lackluster Baltimore Ravens squad.
12. Tennessee Titans (3-1)
Welcome the Tennessee Titans to the top 12 teams in the NFL at the moment. Tennessee has shown some serious ability on both sides of the ball this season with its offense being a big surprise after scoring 38 points on a stingy New York Jets defense.
A hip injury to quarterback Jake Locker may force him to miss at least a month (per Jim Wyatt of USA Today Sports) and is unfortunate for the Titans considering he seemed to finally be hitting his stride in the offense.
Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will have the tough job of picking up the slack against the vaunted Chiefs defense, which has been stellar this season. Fitzpatrick will have a difficult time moving the ball against Kansas City, and a big loss will bring the Titans back to reality after an unexpectedly great start to the season. If the Titans win, they could be due for a big lift in the rankings.
13. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
As one of my personal favorites to come out of the NFC this season, it's stunning to see the Falcons where they are right now. Atlanta has suffered three losses to teams whose combined record is 11-1, with the latest coming against the Pats despite the Falcons offense gaining momentum as the game progressed. A favorable game against the New York Jets in Week 5 should help the Falcons get their second win, although it won't do much to move them up the rankings.
14. San Diego Chargers (2-2)
When the San Diego Chargers are at their best offensively, they can beat almost any team in the NFL, and they proved that after topping the Cowboys in Week 4. Quarterback Philip Rivers has helped revive the passing attack this season, and despite a horrid defense, the Chargers are still winning games. A Week 5 matchup against the Oakland Raiders will be a dangerous one, but it's still a game San Diego should win.
15. Cleveland Browns (2-2)
After the first two weeks of the season, nobody would have imagined the Browns would even sniff a ranking this high. But thanks to new quarterback Brian Hoyer and a great defense, the Browns are a rising squad in the NFL.
Cleveland beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 with a superior defensive effort and enough offense to put it over the top. This same elite-looking defense means the Browns will have a shot in any game they play—especially against lesser teams like their Week 5 opponent, the Buffalo Bills. Not to mention, their offense no longer looks inept and incapable of making plays.
Another win for the Browns will leave them with a 3-2 mark, and depending on how convincing it turns out to be, Cleveland could actually be higher than it is now with an outside shot of reaching the top 10 when it's all said and done with the Bills.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
The Cowboys are falling fast as a result of their inconsistency. One week they blowout a respectable Rams squad, and the next the Cowboys are getting beaten handily by the Chargers with just one good quarter to speak of.
Dallas' troubles will only continue in Week 5 against the Broncos. Not only does Dallas not have the kind of defense that can slow down Denver's elite offense, but the Cowboys also don't have enough offensively to keep up with the Broncos should they go off for another high-scoring game.
Dallas simply can't get out of its own way this season—as is normally the case—and another loss will not only drop the team further in the rankings, but it will also allow the Cowboys' fellow NFC East counterparts to get right back into the thick of things.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
We're four weeks into the season, and it's quite apparent that the AFC North favorite Bengals aren't guaranteed anything with a three-way tie for the division lead as a result of an ugly loss to the Browns. In that game, the Bengals could only muster up six points against a tough defense, thus adding more concerns to their offensive unit after four games.
Week 5 will be a difficult one as the Bengals welcome the Patriots to town. Granted, a loss to the Pats normally wouldn't hurt the Bengals' ranking that badly, but when combined with a loss to the Browns in Week 4, the Bengals could definitely fall further.
With a win at home, Cincinnati could rebound nicely and take a steady climb back up to respectability. Regardless of how things go in Week 5, the Bengals stand to make a considerable move in either direction.
18. Green Bay Packers (1-2)
The Packers enjoyed a bye week and will welcome the Lions to Lambeau Field in Week 5 with a chance to get back into the division picture after dropping Week 3's game against the Bengals. Should the Pack win, a climb up the rankings will be in store for Green Bay. A loss will likely keep them around the same spot as they will be at the top of the class of the one-win teams based on talent alone.
19. Buffalo Bills (2-2)
The Bills have been a middle-of-the-road team thus far in 2013-14, and a result either way in Week 5 against the Browns should keep that distinction. Buffalo enjoyed what amounted to be a surprise win of sorts over a Baltimore Ravens team that looked to be hot coming in, but a loss to the Jets in Week 4 keeps the Bills a tough team to figure out.
20. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Arizona is right in the thick of things in the NFC West after an unimpressive win over the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. The Cards find themselves with another favorable matchup with the 1-2 Carolina Panthers in Week 5, although a win will do little for their credibility moving forward.
21. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
A Week 4 matchup with the Bills should have been one the Ravens emerged victorious in after beating the Texans in Week 3, 30-9. That proved not to be the case as Baltimore failed to get its offense going in either aspect and the Bills did enough offensively to escape with a win. Week 5 will be a tough one against a Dolphins team that will be playing at home and looking to rebound, so don't expect the Ravens to be any higher than this going into Week 6.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
We were all impressed with the Eagles offense through the first two weeks, but as they continue to have a tough time on defense, it's clear they won't be hanging with the best of the best any time soon. A Week 5 game with the Giants is a welcomed sight for Philly despite the fact that a win means next to nothing as far as its ranking goes, as New York is one of the worst teams in the NFL this season.
23. New York Jets (2-2)
The Jets had a great chance at improving to 3-1 in Week 4, but the Titans had other ideas and instead romped Gang Green without incident. New York was thought to be a top defensive squad in the NFL this season, although it's clear the Jets defense has plenty of holes and concerns with the offensive problems not withstanding.
24. Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Carolina comes into Week 5 well rested after its bye week and with some momentum after crushing the Giants in Week 3. The win saved the Panthers' season, and they can look to build on that huge victory with a second consecutive win as they head to Arizona to meet the Cardinals.
25. Washington Redskins (1-3)
There is cause for some optimism in Washington after the Redskins won as a result of its defense in Week 4 against the Raiders. Sure, it wasn't exactly a statement for the struggling unit, but the Redskins may be on the rebound defensively with an already solid offensive squad. Week 5 gives the Redskins a chance to grab a share of the NFC East lead (which isn't saying much) with a win over another struggling team in the Dallas Cowboys.
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
The Minnesota Vikings effectively saved their season with a Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. Minnesota remains as one of the worst teams in the NFL, and its win over the Steelers didn't do much to change that as Pittsburgh is in the league's cellar at 0-4.
27. St. Louis Rams (1-3)
This is becoming an all too familiar spot for the Rams in recent years, and it's a particularly disappointing spot considering hopes were high for them coming into the season. St. Louis hasn't shown up in either of the last two weeks against the Cowboys and Niners after being outscored 66-18 in two games.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-3)
The Raiders had a tough week offensively against the Redskins, but things should get better in Week 5 as starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor is expected to return from a concussion that barely kept him out of last game. Pryor has looked good for Oakland this season and has a golden opportunity to help his team rebound against the Chargers' awful defense.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)
The Steelers are the best winless team in the league. While that's a tough spot for Steelers fans to be in considering the organization's illustrious history, it's the reality of the situation. A Week 4 loss against the formerly winless Minnesota Vikings kept the Steelers near the bottom of the league, although the Steelers offense appears to at least have a pulse after putting up 50 points in two weeks.
30. New York Giants (0-4)
New York's first four games have been nothing short of a disaster. A ton of turnovers and three straight blowout losses by a combined 69-7 margin makes the G-Men's hopes of a successful season bleak at best. However, the Giants are lucky to play in one of the worst divisions in football, so the outside chance they can recover and make an impact in the NFC East could propel the Giants from here on out.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
With a rookie quarterback at the helm, the Bucs woes will likely continue this season. Mike Glennon did a solid job in his NFL debut, but it remains to be seen if he has enough around him to turn things around. Tampa Bay's matchup with Arizona was the best chance this team had of winning a game for some time, so the losing result should help keep the Bucs winless for awhile.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
What can you say about the Jags at this point? They are a team with few positives to look at, and both their offense and defense are among the worst in the NFL. The Colts were the latest beneficiary of playing the Jags, as they creamed Jacksonville 37-3.
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